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Summer Safety Tips

Ways to prevent potential harm for our pets

As we all know, Florida can get extremely hot in the Summer! This can make it dangerous for our pets if we aren’t paying close attention to signs of overheating. BUT, that’s not the only danger Florida Summers bring us! Local PSL resident and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Erin Morton, gave us a few tips to look out for and educate us on regarding the dangers of bufo toads, heartworm, signs of overheating and even hurricane preparation. 

Dr. Morton has been practicing medicine here in Florida for over ten years now after graduating with her DVM at Ross University.  She is extremely thorough, passionate, and detailed in her approach to each case and patient. Her own dog, Rossi, was found under a tree while in veterinary school on the island of St. Kitts. He was extremely malnourished when she found him yet now lives a happy and healthy lifestyle with her here in Florida!  Dr. Morton is currently working at North Port St. Lucie Animal Hospital.

When speaking with Dr. Morton, an important and informative fact to note is that the Florida heat is the same temperature of the pavement. This means, if it’s too hot for you to touch, it’s too hot for your pets paw pads! Ensure you wait for cooler temperatures, use protective booties, or keep them on the grass where it’s much cooler on their paws. Now, let’s learn a few of the other important tips that all pet owners should be educated on and aware of.

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke can happen within minutes, even with windows open! Never leave your pet in a car or unventilated garage, and ensure they always have access to water or shade when outside. When your pet's body temperature hits 104+ degrees, heatstroke begins. A few key signs include heavy panting, dry and sticky gums, bright red or blue gums, collapsing, seizures, a racing heart rate, or a distressed look. Please be sure to look out for these signs and seek attention immediately if you notice any!

Bufo Toads

With the summer rain comes… TOADS. Bufo toads are toxic to dogs (and cats, yet much less common), and it seems that our dogs love trying to lick them! (If only they knew, right?)  Make sure to keep a lookout in damp areas or after a rainstorm before letting your dog out. Telltale signs your dog licked one is bright red gums. Thankfully, using a hose or kitchen faucet to immediately wash away the toxins from your dogs mouth and gums can prevent the toxins from causing problems. But if left untreated, it can lead to seizures and other problems. It’s best to get your pup to the vet if you know it’s encountered a bufo toad!


Summertime = Mosquitos! Both dogs and cats can be exposed to heartworm from one simple mosquito bite. If this disease is left untreated, it can be deadly. Luckily, there’s a preventative for both dogs and cats. Being on monthly preventatives is extremely important. We might not be able to fight the mosquitos, but we can certainly fight heartworm! At your next Vet appointment, be sure to ask about these life saving preventatives and which kind is best for your pet.


Hurricanes can be a real threat to a lot of Floridians and their pets, especially in emergency matters where you have to evacuate. Being prepared can make this matter much smoother and more comforting for you. One important tip is to make sure to have a copy of your pet's vaccine records if you plan on going to a hurricane safe boarding facility.  When shopping for your supplies, don’t forget to stock up on dog/cat food, leashes, litter, travel bowls, or daily medications!